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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

Take a peek into our latest featured title: Storey’s Guide To Keeping Honey Bees. This informative little book was written by Malcom T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney, and imparts a great deal of information on honey production, pollination, and bee health. Below are some excerpts and photos from the book. Enjoy!

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

On Pollination:
It is well known that the value of pollination and its resultant seed set and fruit formation outweigh any provided by honey bee products like honey and beeswax. The pollination part of plant production, however, has taken a back seat to other considerations by farmers such as soil condition, moisture availability, diseases, and pest pressures.

Many people currently keeping bees have entered the craft with the intention of providing true economic value in terms of pollination. For most, this will be invisible as they focus on the harvest of various products the honey bee offers. Some, however, will inevitably be interested in providing pollination services, whether to increase production in a home garden or to develop commercial opportunities in the larger grower community.

Marking a Queen

On Marking The Queen:
Pick her up by the wings and thorax, never the abdomen. Use one hand to pluck her off the comb and then transfer her to the other hand, being careful not to grab her legs in the process. Apply the paint to the top of the thorax. Do not get any on the abdomen or head! Let the paint dry for a minute or two before returning the queen to the nest. Lacquer sold in hobby shops for painting models, typing correction fluid, and fingernail polish are all acceptable. Make sure it dries quickly, an essential attribute of any marking solution.

There is an international color-marking protocol that has been published, although not everyone follows this convention. The last digit or the year determines the color:

  • The year ends in 0 or 5 : The color is Blue
  • The year ends in 1 or 6 : The color is White
  • The year ends in 2 or 7 : The color is Yellow
  • The year ends in 3 or 8 : The color is Red
  • The year ends in 4 or 9 : The color is Green

Clipping the Queen Bee

On Clipping The Queen:
Another possibility is to clip the queen’s wing. It doesn’t make her as noticeable a marking, but does keep her from flying off with a swarm. Once the bees notice the queen is not with them, they will usually return to the hive. The queen can easily become lost in the process, however. Clipping is usually done with a pain of sharp scissors. Again, she must be immobilized. Be sure not to clip more than one-third of the wing as there are tiny veins that run through it.

Top Bar Hive

On The New Top Bar Hive:
TBH (Top Bar Hive) beekeeping is easier on both bees and beekeeper, according to Dr. Mangum. Here are some reasons:

  • The brood is generally placed toward the front-entrance end of the hive and the honey is located in the rear. Examining the brood or taking off honey is, therefore, less stressful on the insects because one doesn’t have to dismantle the whole colony.
  • The top bars butt against each other. Because of this they double as a cover, reducing material requirements and conserving weight. An outer cover of tin or cardboard is necessary, however, to protect the colony from moisture.
  • Only the part of the hive being worked is exposed during manipulation, which reduces overall defensiveness.
  • Finally, all Dr. Mangum’s hived are mounted on stands at waist level, keeping him from having to bend over.

Top bar beekeeping isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth a try for anyone considering a kinder, gentler way to keep bees.

Spotlight On: Crops & Soil

Cultivating Questions Winterkilled Cover Crops for a Mild Climate

Cultivating Questions: Winterkilled Cover Crops For A Mild Climate Part 1

Our mild climate makes it too easy to overwinter cover crops. Then the typically wet springs (and, on our farm, wet soils) let the cover put on loads of topgrowth before getting on the soil. Buckwheat is the only crop that I can be certain will winterkill. Field peas, oats, annual rye and crimson clover have all overwintered here. Any suggestions?

Soil, Vegetation, and Acidity

From Dusty Shelves: Audels Gardeners and Growers Guide teaches us about soil acidity.

An Introduction To Farm Woodlands

The farm woodland is that portion of the farm which either never was cleared for tillage or pasture, or was later given back to woods growth. Thus it occupies land that never was considered suitable, or later proved unsuitable, for farm enterprises.

Beautiful Grasses

What follow are a series of magnificent hundred-year old botanist’s watercolors depicting several useful grass varieties. Artworks such as this are found on the pages of Small Farmer’s Journal quite regularly and may be part of the reason that the small farm world considers this unusual magazine to be one of the world’s periodical gold standards.

Low Tillage Radish Onions

Low Tillage Radish Onions

by:
from issue:

The radishes came up quick, filling the garden canopy completely that fall, and the following spring we found the plot was clean of weeds and rows of open holes were left where the radish roots had been growing. Well, we had a few extra onion plants that spring and decided to plant them in these holes, since we already had very clear lines laid out for us and a clean seedbed. What we got were the best looking onions that have ever come out of our gardens.

Swallow

Rotation As A Means Of Blight Control

Every farmer knows that when a crop is grown on the same field year after year, it becomes inferior in quality and the yield steadily diminishes.

On-Farm Meat Processing

The demand for fresh, local meat products – with no taint of industrial process – is absolutely staggering.

Open-Pollinated Corn at Spruce Run Farm

Open-Pollinated Corn at Spruce Run Farm

by:
from issue:

The old way of selecting seed from open-pollinated corn involved selecting the best ears from the poorest ground. I have tried to select perfect ears based on the open-pollinated seed corn standards of the past. I learned these standards from old agricultural texts. The chosen ears of Reid’s average from 9 to 10.5 inches long and have smooth, well-formed grains in straight rows. I try to select ears with grains that extend to the end of the cob.

Fjordworks Horse Powered Potatoes Part 2

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes Part Two

These types of team implements for digging potatoes were the first big innovation in horse powered potato harvesting in the mid-19th century. Prior to the horse drawn digger the limitation on how many potatoes a farmer could plant was how many the farm crew could dig by hand. The basic design of these early diggers works so well that new models of this type of digger are once again being manufactured by contemporary horse drawn equipment suppliers.

Wild Potatoes and Calcium

Wild potatoes bring increased calcium for better tubers.Have you ever cut into a potato to find a dark spot or hollow part? Early research shows that these defects are likely the result of calcium deficiencies in the potato — and that tuber calcium is genetically linked to tuber quality.

Starting Seeds

From Dusty Shelves: A WWII era article from Farming For Security

Bamboo A Multipurpose Agroforestry Crop

Bamboo: A Multipurpose Agroforestry Crop

by:
from issue:

The bamboos are gaining increased attention as an alternative crop with multiple uses and benefits: 1) domestic use around the farm (e.g., vegetable stakes, trellis poles, shade laths); 2) commercial production for use in construction, food, and the arts (e.g., concrete reinforcement, fishing poles, furniture, crafts, edible bamboo shoots, musical instruments); and 3) ornamental, landscape, and conservation uses (e.g., specimen plants, screens, hedges, riparian buffer zone).

Mullein Indigenous Friend to All

Mullein: Indigenous Friend to All

by:
from issue:

Mullein is a hardy native, soft and sturdy requiring no extra effort to thrive on your part. Whether you care to make your own medicines or not, consider mullein’s value to bees, bumblebees, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, who are needing nectar and nourishment that is toxin free and safe to consume. In this case, all you have to do is… nothing. What could be simpler?

Of Peace and Quiet

LittleField Notes: Of Peace and Quiet

by:
from issue:

Walk with me for a moment to the edge of the Waterfall Field. We can lean on the gate and let our gaze soak up the mid-summer scene: a perfect blue sky and not a breath of wind. Movement catches your eye, and in the distance you see a threesome hard at work in the hayfield. Two Suffolk horses, heads bobbing, making good time followed by a man comfortably seated on a mowing machine. The waist high grass and clover falls steadily in neat swaths behind the mower. What you can’t help but notice is the quiet.

Cultivating Questions: Alternative Tillage & Inter-Seeding Techniques

Our intention is not to advocate the oddball living mulches we use with this single row inter-seeding system, but just to show how it is possible to utilize the between-row areas to improve insect habitat, reduce erosion, conserve moisture, fix some nitrogen, and grow a good bit of extra organic matter. If nothing else, experimenting with these alternative practices continues to keep farming exciting as we begin our twentieth season of bio-extensive market gardening.

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

We were inspired to try no-tilling vegetables into cover crops after attending the Groffs’ field day in 1996. No-tilling warm season vegetables has proved problematic at our site due to the mulch of cover crop residues keeping the soil too cool and attracting slugs. We thought that no-tilling garlic into this cover crop of oats and Canadian field peas might be the ticket as garlic seems to appreciate being mulched.

Cabbage

Cabbage

by:
from issue:

Cabbage is the most important vegetable commercially of the cole crops, which include cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, collard, broccoli, and many others. It also ranks as one of the most important of all vegetable crops and is universally cultivated as a garden, truck and general farm crop. The market for cabbage, like that for potatoes, is continuous throughout the year, and this tends to make it one of the staple vegetables.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT